Donors And Vet Center Give $800 For K-9 Gear

Jewelry Maker, Others Assist Arundel Sheriff's Office Dogs

August 02, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

What started as a way to enhance the open house of a Glen Burnie animal hospital has grown into a donation of supplies for the two dogs of the Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Office.

A group of donors led by a woman who makes pet jewelry and the Alpha Veterinary Center gave the sheriff's office $800 Wednesday for supplies for dogs Grim and Rocky.

The money is earmarked for two attack-training sleeves, leather leads, a first-aid kit for a dog and equipment for explosives training, said Deputy Michele Goodman, whose partner is the security dog Rocky.

"We use these [supplies] because the dogs continually train," she said.

Grant money made it possible for the agency to replace an older dog with Grim this year, but budget cuts left the department short of money for supplies. The office has a foundation to supplement its budget.

"This is really a huge, generous act of kindness," said Sheriff Ronald S. Bateman.

Originally, at the suggestion of friends, family and a worker at the veterinary hospital, Lory O'Mara of Brooklyn Park, who makes jewelry for people and pets, was planning to use proceeds from pet jewelry sold at Alpha's grand opening in July on protective vests for the dogs.

Veterinarian Reggie R. Cox said that she would match the donation up to $100. O'Mara, her relatives, animal-loving friends and acquaintances, and people who work at Alpha added to the fund.

Then they learned two things: The protective gear costs $1,200 per vest, far more than they had raised, and an Eastern Shore couple had already offered to give the sheriff's office the vests.

"I said, 'Give me a list of equipment both dogs need,' " O'Mara said.

She got it. The attack sleeves and the first aid kit are for Grim, a Belgian Malinois who is trained to apprehend people and will spend most of his working hours on the road helping Deputy Jason Jett serve warrants. The dog is also trained for explosives detection.

Officials brought the dogs to Alpha for a thank-you visit on Wednesday. Rocky, a black Labrador, showed off a few tricks. When Goodman said "bang bang," he played dead. And when Bateman told him to ask "mommy" if he could have a treat, the dog turned to Goodman with a sad, pleading look.

In recent training, Bateman said, Grim bit through a borrowed attack sleeve and left bruises on the trainer.

O'Mara said Grim will probably have a bigger first aid kit than Jett, his human handler.

Rocky is trained in security and explosives detection, and will continue to spend his workdays at the Anne Arundel County Court House.

There would have been another $20 or so from a collection jar on the counter at Alpha.

"The jar was stolen last week. It had Rocky's and Grim's pictures on it," O'Mara said.

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